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Abstract

The denarius of Marcus Junius Brutus, commemorating the Ides of March, can be placed among the coins most established in the collective imagination of ancient societies and, later, among those having the greatest impact on European humanism. One cannot point out another antique coin that refers directly to such a fateful historical event as the assassination of Julius Caesar. Respublica liberata, the work by Andreas Alciatus (1492–1550), printed in 1546, is outstanding among numerous, ancient and modern examples of the reception of Brutus’s coin. Alciatus, a famous Milanese lawyer, composed his work in the innovative form of an emblematic study. Emblematics enjoyed great popularity throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Symbols and allegorical representations were used as a universal media for describing the world. The distinguishing representation of daggers and pileus – according to the general idea of emblems – had been separated by Alciatus from its historical context and given a universal and ageless meaning. In this manner, the writer made the ancient iconographical type the general symbol of the liberation of a state from the rule of a tyrant.
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